Beyond Good and Evil

By Friedrich Nietzsche

Page 9

of the
Tubingen institution went immediately into the groves--all seeking for
"faculties." And what did they not find--in that innocent, rich, and
still youthful period of the German spirit, to which Romanticism, the
malicious fairy, piped and sang, when one could not yet distinguish
between "finding" and "inventing"! Above all a faculty for the
"transcendental"; Schelling christened it, intellectual intuition,
and thereby gratified the most earnest longings of the naturally
pious-inclined Germans. One can do no greater wrong to the whole of
this exuberant and eccentric movement (which was really youthfulness,
notwithstanding that it disguised itself so boldly, in hoary and senile
conceptions), than to take it seriously, or even treat it with moral
indignation. Enough, however--the world grew older, and the dream
vanished. A time came when people rubbed their foreheads, and they still
rub them today. People had been dreaming, and first and foremost--old
Kant. "By means of a means (faculty)"--he had said, or at least meant to
say. But, is that--an answer? An explanation? Or is it not rather merely
a repetition of the question? How does opium induce sleep? "By means of
a means (faculty)," namely the virtus dormitiva, replies the doctor in
Moliere,

Quia est in eo virtus dormitiva,
Cujus est natura sensus assoupire.

But such replies belong to the realm of comedy, and it is high time
to replace the Kantian question, "How are synthetic judgments a PRIORI
possible?" by another question, "Why is belief in such judgments
necessary?"--in effect, it is high time that we should understand
that such judgments must be believed to be true, for the sake of the
preservation of creatures like ourselves; though they still might
naturally be false judgments! Or, more plainly spoken, and roughly and
readily--synthetic judgments a priori should not "be possible" at all;
we have no right to them; in our mouths they are nothing but false
judgments. Only, of course, the belief in their truth is necessary, as
plausible belief and ocular evidence belonging to the perspective view
of life. And finally, to call to mind the enormous influence which
"German philosophy"--I hope you understand its right to inverted commas
(goosefeet)?--has exercised throughout the whole of Europe, there is
no doubt that a certain VIRTUS DORMITIVA had a share in it; thanks to
German philosophy, it was a delight to the noble idlers, the virtuous,
the mystics, the artiste, the three-fourths Christians, and the
political obscurantists of all nations, to find an antidote to the still
overwhelming sensualism which overflowed from the last century into
this, in short--"sensus assoupire."...

12. As regards materialistic atomism, it is one of

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